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Electrocution: How great a danger for construction workers?

On Behalf of | Oct 19, 2020 | Construction Workers' Accidents

You need not be an electrician to face substantial risk of electrocution when you work construction. In fact, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration ranks electrocutions as the second highest cause of construction fatalities in the U.S.

It may surprise you to learn that only 50-100 milliamperes of electricity rampaging through your body can kill you. As a construction worker, most of the common electrical tools and equipment you use on a daily basis carry 15-20 amperes–over 100 times that amount.

Electrocution causes

Construct Connect explains that numerous opportunities exist for you to suffer an electrocution injury by coming into contact with one of the following:

  • An improperly grounded electrical cord
  • A frayed or damaged electrical cord
  • A cord improperly connected to an extension cord
  • A malfunctioning electrical tool
  • An improperly maintained electrical tool
  • In addition to live wires in the building being constructed

Unfortunately, you also have many opportunities to come into contact with live overhead electrical wires when you work on tall ladders or scaffolding.

Electrocution statistics

The sobering statistics on construction site fatal electrocutions read as follows:

  • They account for 61% of all construction deaths.
  • 30% of them victimize male construction workers in the 35-44 age bracket.
  • 25% of them victimize construction laborers.
  • 19% of them victimize construction site electricians.

Even when an electrocution accident “only” injures you instead of kills you, you can expect to sustain serious electrical burns, some of them possibly covering large portions of your body. These burns, in turn, will require a long stay in the hospital burn unit while you undergo painful debridement treatments to remove your dead skin cells so new ones can grow. In addition, you likely will have to undergo one or more skin grafts to reduce the amount of disfiguring scarring your skin will carry for the rest of your life. Electric shocks can also cause neurological and brain injuries.